Written by: Samantha Miller, Pledgettes Member

When I joined The Pledgettes, I wanted knowledge and community. I wanted to learn from these women who I thought had everything right with their finances. (Pro-tip, no one does, but everyone is getting there, and that’s why we join this group.)

When I joined The Pledgettes, I learned that my membership came with a six-week course all about money. Perfect – I had always looked at financial courses, cringed at the cost, and moved right along back to ThePennyHoarder.com and free advice.

When I joined Nav.igating Confident Money Moves (should be a website hyperlink), I learned so much, I now have a mile-long checklist in my new-to-me “money journal” I have started keeping. I am not even kidding; when I organized all of my thoughts and action items, I filled 30 individual notebook lines.

Here are my three major takeaways from the course and how each lesson has impacted my money journey.

Sing it with Me: I need an A-Team, Everyone Needs An A-Team 🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Although conventional education tells us not to speak about money with anyone, especially total strangers, a reliable money education can’t exist without others.

For me, the idea of a “Financial A-Team” was a downright bizarre, slightly anxiety-inducing concept introduced in Week 5. Thinking about it now, it’s still a revolutionary idea. Actually… have conversations, with real people, about money?

Now, I have a small circle of friends I can talk money with and my CPA, so it wasn’t as if I hadn’t talked to someone about money. But imagine my surprise when I learned one approach to structure my wealth goals is with a team. I am not an island; I could have a group of dedicated professionals and cheerleaders with me along the way.

How has this course impacted my money journey?
Using the A-Team structure, I know I am missing Growth Partners, Mentors/Mentees, and Diverse Thinkers. Finding those people is on my to-do list. I feel like I have Connectors and a High-Five Tribe thanks to some friends and The Pledgettes.

“Team Sami” will be made up of experts who aren’t afraid to talk concepts through with me and point out methods to help build wealth, no matter how risky. Financial risk is actually a topic I want to explore, and need to find the right person to help me.

I know I want a team that is the whole Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad: complete with sparkles and high kick energy. My squad will cheer my saving goals (and my dedication to savings apps, just saying) and open my eyes to alternative ideas (Looking at you Dave Ramsey) that I didn’t consider in my tiny financial bubble.

Yes, I Can Hire a Financial Expert

I am completely, totally, and utterly one of those people who came into the course thinking “financial experts” are for rich people. That is a prevailing myth, although I know now there are CFP’s out there who chose their profession to help anyone, from the janitor to the millionaire, with their money.

My expectations were utterly proven wrong in weeks five and six of the course. Here are just a few things I thought and the actual reality I learned:

Expectation Reality

 

❖    “No one wants to talk about stocks with someone with no money.” ❖    I can talk to an expert about stocks anytime I want.
❖    “Two things you don’t talk to strangers about: money and religion.” ❖    Have a conversation about my goals with women who I don’t know (And they want to talk to me!).
❖    Financial Experts can only sell one kind of product, and you, the consumer, must buy it. ❖    One awesome sounding word: fiduciary.

 

How has this course impacted my money journey?

I obviously need experts to help me with my goals, translating goals into dreams. I don’t have to educate myself about investing unless I want to because my future CFP will have the skill to do it for me. I am now better equipped to interview my future financial experts. I learned the word fiduciary, which is both an honorable concept and an excellent term word to throw out in conversation.

I Have A Relationship with Money

Cognitive psychology tells us that a “mindset” forms through how our parents raise us, our interactions with the world around us, through play, school, role models, mentors, setbacks, and even our individual mental wiring.  Although many might not realize that they have a mindset about a topic, everyone does. A “money” mindset is where the Nav.itgating Confident Money Moves course begins, and believe me, you won’t look at money the same way ever again.

I don’t have a healthy money mindset. Until this course, I didn’t have the language to articulate my relationship with money. Or even that I have a relationship with money.

Let that sink in a minute: you have an evolving and revolving, possibly healthy, maybe even abusive relationship with the behemoth that is “money.”

My relationship history with money is dysfunctional: I have made mistakes and usually avoided correcting those mistakes until I had to. One example was allowing my sister to use my credit cards and having to take a personal loan to cover the credit cards (I didn’t even get paid back, either). Another was not understanding how much a hospital charges when you don’t have health insurance; it took being willed money to pay that mess off.

I feel like Money has always sent me to sleep on the couch in this relationship.

It took a life-changing personal loss, a significant change in my earnings, and my stubborn refusal to waste any more money on stupid decisions that got to me now. Now I have educated myself about various topics and budget my expenses. I have a ROTH IRA with a decent amount of money in it. I don’t have credit card debt and will never have credit card debt again because I have an emergency fund.

How has this course impacted my money journey?

I have a relationship with money that I need to work on. I need to reframe my ideas that “Money is what it is.” These negative thoughts don’t contribute to a healthy money mindset. My empowerment moment really was understanding that everyone in the course has a different relationship with money. While it needs work, mine is a significant part of my journey to build wealth and achieve my goals.

When I joined The Pledgettes, I didn’t realize in a few short weeks, I would feel anxious and exhilarated at the same time to actually accomplish something with money. Thank you to the fantastic Jenn and Maia, all of the experts who joined us for talks, and to The Pledgettes members who are my new financial tribe.

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